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For inaugural, get up early

From NBC's Pete Williams
Be in line by 9 a.m., but don't bring your umbrella, even if it's raining.

That's the advice from the congressional committee responsible for the formal portion of the Jan. 20th inauguration. 

The swearing-in program will begin at 11:30 a.m., so that the oath of office can be administered to Barack Obama at noon, as the Constitution requires. 

Security checkpoints for ticketed guests open at 8 a.m., and the committee recommends that ticket holders arrive no later than 9 a.m. to get through screening.

The committee, calmly understating the problem, says, "Getting to the swearing-in ceremonies that morning will be very difficult because of the large crowds. In addition to the 240,000 ticketed guests, a million or more people are expected to view the inauguration from the National Mall, along with hundreds of thousands of others who plan on watching the Inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue."

A security perimeter will be set up around the Capitol and the parade route, with subway stations, bus stops and city streets closed inside that ring. Most bridges from Virginia across the Potomac River into Washington will be closed to all but bus traffic.

For those within two miles of the Capitol, the Congressional committee recommends walking.

"For some people bicycling may be an option to get close to the U.S. Capitol," it suggests, noting that the city is working on setting up "bike valet" stations. 

"The weather in Washington in January is usually quite cold and often rainy or snowy," the committee continues. "Please think carefully about whether you can stand outside in cold weather in a large crowd for up to six hours, and whether you are ready for long delays getting home afterwards. …
 
"Regardless of the weather conditions, umbrellas will not be permitted in the ticketed areas."